Julian Sanchez: "Frankly, Trump is demonstrating that our constitutional system is actually stunningly poorly designed for its advertised purpose of checking monarchical power, and we’ve just been incredibly lucky about not simultaneously picking a wannabe caudillo & a supine Congress:"

*Renato Mariotti: "Trump’s team not only argues that he can pardon himself but also argues that he has unlimited power to investigate his enemies and end investigations into his friends. If this sounds like tyranny to you, that’s because it is."

Julian Sanchez: "Granted, maybe “poorly designed” is unfair 250 years later. But it’s hard not to notice that the effective checks on Trump in year one have been more a function of institutional cultures within the executive branch than Congress cracking the whip in the way Federalist imagines."

Joe Brown: "Exactly. This goes back to Madison’s architecture & Hamilton’s exec-branch precedents during Washington’s first term. Our system was based upon assumption that politicians’ motivations would always be to serve. We give the framers a lot of credit, but they were stunningly naive."

Julian Sanchez: "I don’t think that’s quite right. The Federalist Papers are pretty explicit about the structure being designed on the premise that 'ambition' (not pure public spiritedness) will motivate the branches to check each other. They made the much less naive error of not anticipating the dominance of electoral politics by national parties.